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Retailers from around the World Share Best Green Practices

Sep 21, 2009

The retail industry is a significant part of the Canadian economy with more than 1.2 billion square feet of space and sales of $425 billion in 2008. According to Greening Retail, an initiative lead by the Toronto and Region Conservation (TRCA),  Canadian retailers and their suppliers are responsible for more than 40 million tonnes of carbon emissions annually, six million tones of waste, and millions of kilometers travelled by trucks from around the world to every corner in Canada. If just five per cent of retailers and their suppliers reduce energy use by 10 per cent, the estimated energy savings in one year would be equivalent to the energy required to power half a million homes and would result in a reduction of 1.4 million tonnes of greenhouse gases, the equivalent of removing 233,000 cars from the road for a year.

Greening Retail's new research report Best Environmental Practices From Around the World 2009, conducted by Evans and Company Consultants, and redesigned website were launched today. The report examines 15 of the top best-practice environmental retail leaders in the world, identifying their strategies and tactics in detail and outlining the ROI that can come from sustainable practices.

Here are some key findings from the study:

  • Grocery store chains are the earliest adopters of environmental best practices, followed by department stores and other large space users, and then specialty stores
  • Environmental strategy needs to fit the company size and structure
  • Top three ROI action points include: Appointing champions throughout the organization, reducing energy and reducing waste
  • 13 of 15 companies produced a CSR report
  • Over 80 per cent of the companies measure and track energy usage, waste produced and diverted, CO2 emissions, transportation and water usage

"We found that there is strong support for environmental programs from leading Canadian retailers but they still face challenges when it comes to adopting best practices due to the lack of programs, research or identified returns on investments specifically for the retail sector," said Bernie McIntyre, Manager Community Transformation Programs, Toronto and Region Conservation and project lead for the Greening Retail initiative. "The Greening Retail Program aims to fill the information gap for the industry. Access to relevant and practical data and best practices is critical for retailers to reduce their environmental footprint, save money and improve their bottom line."

The 2009 study and redesigned website will be showcased at the International Council of Shopping Centers, Inc (ICSC) Canadian Convention Deal Making and Trade Expo, Sept. 21-23 at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre (Toronto and Region Conservation's exhibit: booth G3). The redesigned website will support the study, contain research results and include tools such as: a searchable database of case studies covering environmental policies and governance; energy conservation; green energy; solid waste; water use; transportation; green products; supply chain/purchasing; staff training; customer education and marketing; corporate social responsibility reporting; benchmarks and green sites. The site also hosts implementation resources in 14 categories of environmental best practices. A Greening Retail Blog and Forum are also in the works for retailers to interact with experts.

"Through the study we were able learn what made the world's top environmental retailers successful in greening their business," said McIntyre. "We've taken this information and turned it into a useful report and integrated case studies and other findings into the website. We hope it will become an important resource for the industry and help the retail sector with its green transformation."


About Greening Retail
Developed by Toronto and Region Conservation in 2008, Greening Retail undertakes research, develops resources and programs, and facilitates demonstration projects to help retailers implement environmental best practices. Greening Retail works in partnership with sector leaders, government agencies and other organizations to provide retailers with the strategies and tools they need in order to take action. Program partners include: Ted Rogers School of Management, Ryerson University, Centre for the Study of Commercial Activity, Ryerson University, Retail Council of Canada, ESADE in Spain, University of Stirling, Hitotsubashi University, Evans & Company Consultants Inc., University of Metz, Sustainable Retailing Consortium - National Retail Federation. Sponsors includes Smart!Centres and Environment Canada. For more information go to www.greeningretail.ca

Toronto and Region Conservation
With over 50 years of experience, Toronto and Region Conservation (TRCA) helps people understand, enjoy and look-after the natural environment. Our vision is for The Living City®, where human settlement can flourish forever as part of nature's beauty and diversity.  For more information, call 416-661-6600 or visit us at www.trca.on.ca

 

For media information, please contact:

Rowena Calpito
Supervisor, Media Management  
Toronto and Region Conservation
Tel: 416-661-6600 ext 5632
Mobile: 416-358-3446
E-mail: rcalpito@trca.on.ca  

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Media contact:

Elizabeth Oakley
Tel: 416-661-6600 ext 5856
media@trca.on.ca

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